The guitar was made by Bob Mataranglo of Lakewood and commissioned by the Belmar Tourism Commission.
“We worked on it for over a month. It was supposed to be installed in May but that was delayed,” said Mataranglo. “Then when Clarence Clemons died, we decided to wait a little longer.”
Two years ago, Mataranglo painted an E Street mural on the second floor of a building on the northwest corner of Main Street and 10th Avenue in Belmar.
“After doing the mural, the Belmar Tourism Commission approached me about doing something on the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street, on the library lawn,” he said.
The intersection has been long associated with Springsteen since it is the E Street that Bruce got the name for his E Street Band. It has been a photo-op for years for Springsteen fans from around the world.
Original E Street Band keyboard player David Sancious lived at 1105 E Street in the 1970s.
Many believe that it’s the 10th Avenue from “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” but others, including myself, believe that song refers to 10th Avenue in Manhattan.
“I saw the guitar on the cover of ‘Born to Run’ and thought that would be something to work on,” said Mataranglo. “There was a group of us and we brainstormed about the imagery.
“I discussed with them about doing something specific. It was a generic thing, we wanted it to be subtle but without question.
“I did some research and found the particular model of the Fender Esquire guitar.”
Mataranglo worked with his friend Denia Naleta on a design.
“He and I met several times,” said Mataranglo. “I have an engineering background and we designed a method of holding it in place.
“The town installed what we built on Tuesday. They installed the concrete and designed a method of holding it up.”
Mataranglo credits Mary Brabazon of the Belmar Tourism Commission and Chamber of Commerce and Chris Brandl of the Belmar Tourism Commission with making the idea a reality.
“They were the key people from the city,” Mataranglo said. “They helped with the funding, the location, the coordination between the library and the department of public works.”
Photo by Kevin MaypotherBob Mataranglo poses with the guitar he made in front of the Belmar Public Library.
Mataranglo said the work was paid for by the Belmar Tourism Commission but would not disclose the amount.
According to Mataranglo, the guitar is 8 feet high, made of laminated, half-inch marine-grade plywood with stainless steel pieces and strings. It sits two feet off the ground welded to a stainless steel support, embedded in concrete. It weights about 150 pounds and has six layers of coatings.
“I am so thrilled to be a part of it,” he said. “When we were putting it in on Tuesday, a father and son from Germany showed up and they took pictures in front of it.
“Words can’t describe how you feel when you do an art piece like this and people come up and take pictures, People were so complimentary.”
Mataranglo says the guitar was aligned so it can be in the foreground or the background of a photo with the 10th Avenue and E Street obelisk.
Mataranglo is a Springsteen fan, “but I’m not a zealot.
Photo by Stan GoldsteinThe Belmar library is giving away buttons commemorating the display of the Fender Esquire guitar.
“Bruce Springsteen is one of the reasons to be proud of why you’re living in New Jersey,” he said.
Does Mataranglo hope Springsteen sees it?
“I would hope he would be happy and pleased to see it and that someone spent a portion of their life doing something in his honor,” he said.
As far as security of the guitar, Mataranglo says “it’s secured in such a fashion that it would have to be destroyed to be taken away.”
To commemorate the guitar, the Belmar library and Tourism Commission are giving away buttons with a picture of the guitar on it.